Federal spending in three key program areas that are included in the National Academies’ tabulation of the FS&T budget—Advanced Technology (6.3)2 in the Department of Defense (DOD) ($4.1 billion), Atomic Weapons Defense Activities in the Department of Energy (DOE) ($2.9 billion), and Human Space Flight R&D at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ($2.8 billion)—account for almost all of the $10 billion difference between it and the way the Administration tracks FS&T. As the Administration’s tabulation has evolved, the U.S Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has made changes from year-to-year in what is included in the Administration’s tabulation. The Administration should continue to refine its tabulation, examining further, if it has not already done so, whether other federal programs might also be included, in whole or part, in its FS&T budget calculation. To make the FS&T budget category useful, though, it needs a stable, rational definition. OMB, in consultation with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, should prepare a document that provides such a definition and the rationale underlying it.


The President’s FY 2002 budget proposal would increase FS&T spending in constant dollars by $950 million, or 1.7 percent, according to the Academies’ method for tabulating FS&T, and by $1.44 billion, or 3.0 percent, under the Administration’s method. Either way, however, the FS&T budget would decrease substantially from FY 2001 to FY 2002 when the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is excluded. Indeed, once FS&T at the NIH is excluded, FS&T under the President’s budget proposal would be reduced in constant dollars below its level in FY 1994.3

With the exception of FS&T at NIH and at the Department of Transportation, which is independently supported by the Federal Highway Trust Fund, FS&T spending would be flat or cut at all other major science and technology agencies. To cite one key example, the budget of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which increased 11.0 percent in constant dollars from FY 2000 to FY 2001, would decrease 0.8 percent from FY 2001 to FY 2002 under the President’s proposal. FS&T in NSF’s Research and Related Activities account would decrease even further, by 2.9 percent in constant dollars.

The increase of 11.3 percent in the NIH budget contributes to the national goal of improving the health of the American people. It also contributes substantially toward advancing life sciences research in the United States, particularly biomedical research. The goal of improving the health of the American people would also be well served by federal investment in fundamental research areas outside the life sciences funded by other agencies.4 In the past, such investments in the physical sciences and engineering have led to breakthroughs in medical technology such as magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, and


The Department of Defense has classified activities in its Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) program into seven categories: Basic Research (6.1), Applied Research (6.2), Advanced Technology (6.3), Demonstration and Validation (6.4), Engineering and Manufacturing Development (6.5), RDT&E Management Support (6.6), and Operational Systems Development (6.7).


Budget amounts for FY 2002 are proposed spending levels under the President’s budget request; figures for earlier years are actual or estimated Congressional appropriations.


U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Unlocking our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy, September 1998.

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